This refreshing salad will keep up to a week in the refrigerator, making it an easy addition to any meal or a welcome fix-ahead starter or side.

Serves 12 to 15

Ingredients

2 to 3 large Vidalia or red onions, sliced

3 bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced (mixed colors of yellow, red and orange, or red and green)

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons chopped herbs ( fresh basil, lemon balm, rosemary, basil, oregano and/or parsley)

1 1/2 cups olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Toss the onions and peppers in a large bowl.

In a food processor or with a whisk, whisk together vinegar, mustard, basil and other herbs. Continue whisking and drizzle in the olive oil slowly to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour enough dressing over the onions and peppers to coat. Toss once or twice before covering and refrigerating. This salad can be eaten right away but is best made at least a day ahead. As it ages, it wilts and mellows.

Variations

Cut onions and peppers in triangular wedges rather than slices. This is particularly stunning when served from a glass bowl.

Add sliced tomatoes, celery, fennel or broccoli.

Add crisp crumbled bacon.

Nathalie Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, most recently the James Beard award-winning "Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking." She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com

Colorful Vidalia Onion and Bell Pepper Salad